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Long Range

Long Range Report: Royal Star and Royal Polaris land cow tuna

BY GUNDY GUNDERSON/Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: May 07, 2019

Bite much improved despite a few down days, wahoo fishing shines

SAN DIEGO — After several weeks of uneven fishing, the bite on the cow grounds is improving as the cow season winds down.Despite a few hiccup days, the bite as a whole has been improving with good numbers of 80- to 150-pound fish mixed with some quality cows coming to gaff. Each boat put several big fish on the deck. The good wahoo fishing was a nice bonus and served as a good plan B when the tuna were down.


Royal Star on the cow grounds


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KEN MUSHINSKI WITH a 178 taken on the Star. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL STAR SPORTFISHING

warrensakamotoWARREN SAKAMOTO STANDS with a hearty 208 that fell victim to the jumbo bait under the kite. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL STAR SPORTFISHING


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JANA ABBOTT POSES with her beautiful 205 that fell victim to a well-placed Flyer under the kite. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL STAR SPORTFISHING


The Royal Star was back on the trail of cow tuna on the annual Chris Yamada charter. The group of skilled anglers was looking at a much improved outlook after the RP stuck 22 cows on their last trip. The group, with Capt. Tim Ekstrom at the helm, got off to a satisfactory start. Definitely something to work with here though no barn burner by any means. Suffice it to say, we think we've got the lay of the land with a handful of beauties to show for it. Time will tell now.”


In the following days, a good scratch bite developed, and the skipper sent this message, “Good scratching throughout the day that included a few shots at trophies amongst the ‘stock’ grade 80 to 120 pounders. By any standard, this was the most encouraging sign we've seen in a while down here with fish crashing around, kites going off and fly-line baits producing for the better part of the late morning/early afternoon. Piecing together a respectable score, we now have a plan in place to keep this trend going. The only question of course is whether the fish around here are on the same page.”


Then, as has been the norm this season, the bite did a180-degree u-turn. “The pace slacked off today returning to a one here and there scenario from mid-morning through mid-afternoon. Then we went stone cold. There was no rhyme or reason for the change that we could determine. Everything under the sun that we employed simply produced nothing. We did accumulate enough nice ones throughout the day to deem the effort a success but no jumbos crossed our path. One-fifty was the biggest fish landed.”


Another day of slow fishing was saved by a good evening bite, Ekstrom described it this way, “It was nice weather and that about sums up the day. Far and wide we scoured and searched for anything that wanted to bite. We ran across plenty to stop on, but nothing to catch. Until the eleventh hour we were fishless. Then, a few minutes before sundown, Captain Blake Wasano eagle-eyed the right sign again. A mixed bag of sharks and fish didn't look all that good at first glance. But underneath were quality tuna that asserted themselves shortly after we drifted and got established. A dozen good ones closed out the day on the right note. Rear ends and elbows were the pace for a good few minutes. Exhilarating, and a relief.”


RP on the grounds


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HURRICANE BANK TUNA aboard the Royal Polaris. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL POLARIS SPORTFISHING


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A PAIR OF slug wahoo aboard the RP. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL POLARIS SPORTFISHING

The workhorse Royal Polaris was also back on the cow grounds and found few tuna on the first day but excellent wahoo fishing. The boat, with Capt. Roy Rose at the wheel, filed this report, “We arrived at our destination in the mid-morning hours, did some checking out, and did it pay off. We had an excellent day of wahoo fishing, but the yellowfin are still playing hide and seek. Most of the wahoo were in the 30- to 40-pound range with a few going to 50. It was a tough first day on the yellowfin, but the wahoo kept our passengers busy for most of the day.”


After another day with good wahoo fishing a few yellowfin, things begaqn to look better, “Definitely things are changing, with a good morning wake-up call from the tuna, things are starting to look better. The kite did some producing this morning, but after 0900 hours, things just cooled off. But the morning bite did produce another 200-pound fish. Sam was the lucky angler with a 234-pound jumbo. The rest of the yellowfin were in the 140- to 180-pound range. We did scratch for most of the day, but it was a very long day today.”


The next day, more challenges, he added. “Lets look at the bright side of the picture. We are having excellent weather, but today the fishing was slow. Things are very tough down here. The yellowfin today were in the 120- to 180-pound range, and the wahoo were good size, 30 to 40 pounds. There’s very good life around the boat in the afternoon, but it was all show and no go. It was the most life we’ve seen since the trip started.”


The next day, another swing, “What a difference a day makes. Well, things are looking good down here. We would have our best day yet. Most of the yellowfin were in the 80- to 120-pound range, with a few in the 150- to 180-pound range. We stayed on the anchor all day, so wahoo fishing was almost nothing, but a few would pass by the boat to test out a bomb or two. Things are starting to look good, for now.”


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